'Wickedness' in the Bible
The Lord saw that the wickedness (depravity) of man was great on the earth, and that every imagination or intent of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually.
You shall not uncover the nakedness of a woman and her daughter, nor shall you take her son’s daughter or her daughter’s daughter to uncover their nakedness (have intimate relations with them); they are [her] blood relatives; it is an outrageous offense.
‘Do not profane your daughter by making her a prostitute, so that the land will not fall to prostitution and become full of wickedness.
It is immoral and shameful if a man marries a woman and her mother; all three shall be burned in fire, so that there will be no immorality among you.
“Do not say in your heart when the Lord your God has driven them out before you, ‘Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to possess this land,’ but because of the wickedness of these nations the Lord is dispossessing them before you.
It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land, but because of the wickedness of these nations the Lord your God is driving them out before you, and to confirm the oath which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
Remember [with compassion] Your servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; do not look at the stubbornness of this people or at their wickedness or at their sin,
Then all Israel will hear and be afraid, and will never again do such a wicked thing among you.
In this way God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done to his father [Jerubbaal] by killing his seventy brothers.
Also God repaid all the wickedness of the men of Shechem on their heads, and the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal (Gideon) came upon them.
(Now the Benjamites [in whose territory the crime was committed] heard that the [other tribes of the] sons of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.) And the sons of Israel said, “How did this evil thing happen?”
Then the tribes of Israel sent men through the entire tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What is this evil thing that has been done among you?
Is it not [the beginning of the] wheat harvest today? I will call to the Lord and He will send thunder and rain; then you will know [without any doubt], and see that your evil which you have done is great in the sight of the Lord by asking for yourselves a king.”
As the proverb of the ancients says, ‘Out of the wicked comes wickedness’; but my hand shall not be against you.
When David heard that Nabal was dead, he said, “Blessed be the Lord, who has pleaded the cause of my reproach [suffered] at the hand of Nabal and has kept His servant from [retaliating with] evil. For the Lord has returned the wickedness of Nabal on his own head.” Then David sent word to Abigail, proposing to take her as his wife.
Today I am weak, though anointed king; these men, the sons of Zeruiah, are too difficult for me. May the Lord repay the evildoer [Joab] in accordance with his wickedness!”
Solomon said, “If he [proves he] is a worthy man, not even one of his hairs shall fall to the ground; but if wickedness is found in him, he shall die.”
He made his son pass through the fire and burned him [as an offering to Molech]; he practiced witchcraft and divination, and dealt with mediums and soothsayers. He did great evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking Him to anger.
I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, so that they may live in their own place and not be moved again [nor tremble with fear]; and the wicked will not waste (persecute) them anymore, as formerly,
Then David said to God, “I have sinned greatly because I have done this thing. But now, I beseech You, take away the wickedness and guilt of Your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.”
“Though evil and wickedness are sweet in his mouthAnd he hides it under his tongue,
“Others snatch the fatherless [infants] from the breast [to sell or make them slaves],And against the poor they take a pledge [of clothing].
“Therefore hear me, you men of understanding.Far be it from God that He would do wickedness,And from the Almighty to do wrong.
“Your wickedness affects only a man such as you,And your righteousness affects only a son of man [but it cannot affect God, who is sovereign].
So that light may take hold of the corners of the earthAnd shake the wickedness out of it?
For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness;No evil [person] dwells with You.
Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, but establish the righteous [those in right standing with You];For the righteous God tries the hearts and minds.
Break the arm of the wicked and the evildoer,Seek out his wickedness until You find no more.
In whose hands is a wicked scheme,And whose right hand is full of bribes.
Repay them according to their work and according to the evil of their practices;Repay them according to the deeds of their hands;Repay them what they deserve.
You have loved righteousness (virtue, morality, justice) and hated wickedness;Therefore God, your God, has anointed YouAbove Your companions with the oil of jubilation.
Your tongue devises destruction,Like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.
“Look, [this is] the man who would not make God his strength [his stronghold and fortress],But trusted in the abundance of his riches,Taking refuge in his wealth.”
No, in your heart you devise wrongdoing;On earth you deal out the violence of your hands.
For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand [anywhere else];I would rather stand [as a doorkeeper] at the threshold of the house of my GodThan to live [at ease] in the tents of wickedness.
He has turned back their own wickedness upon themAnd will destroy them by means of their own evil;The Lord our God will wipe them out.
A productive land into a [barren] salt waste,Because of the wickedness of those who dwell in it.
Those who follow after wickedness approach;They are far from Your law.
For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land of the righteous,So that the righteous will not reach out their hands to do wrong.
Do not incline my heart to [consent to or tolerate] any evil thing,Or to practice deeds of wickednessWith men who plan and do evil;And let me not eat of their delicacies (be tempted by their gain).
For they eat the bread of wickednessAnd drink the wine of violence.
Treasures of wickedness and ill-gotten gains do not profit,But righteousness and moral integrity in daily life rescues from death.
Engaging in evil is like sport to the fool [who refuses wisdom and chases sin],But to a man of understanding [skillful and godly] wisdom brings joy.
The righteousness of the blameless will smooth their way and keep it straight,But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness.
A man will not be established by wickedness,But the root of the [consistently] righteous will not be moved.
Righteousness (being in right standing with God) guards the one whose way is blameless,But wickedness undermines and overthrows the sinner.
It is repulsive [to God and man] for kings to behave wickedly,For a throne is established on righteousness (right standing with God).
Though his hatred covers itself with guile and deceit,His malevolence will be revealed openly before the assembly.
This is the way of an adulterous woman:She eats and wipes her mouthAnd says, “I have done no wrong.”
Moreover, I have seen under the sun that in the place of justice there is wickedness, and in the place of righteousness there is wickedness.
I turned around and directed my heart to know, to investigate and to seek [skillful and godly] wisdom and the reason for things, and to know that wickedness is folly and that foolishness is madness [leading to stupidity and recklessness].
For there is a proper time and [appropriate] procedure for every delight,Though mankind’s misery and trouble lies heavily upon him [who rebels against the king].
There is no man who has power and authority over the wind to restrain the wind,Nor does he have authority over the day of death;There is no discharge [from service] during time of war,And evil will not rescue those who [actively seek to] practice it.
Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and his life [seemingly] is prolonged [in spite of his wickedness], still I know that it will be well with those who [reverently] fear God, who fear and worship Him openly [realizing His omnipresence and His power].
Woe (judgment is coming) to those who drag along wickedness with cords of falsehood,And sin as if with cart ropes [towing their own punishment];
For wickedness burns like a fire;It consumes briars and thorns,It even sets the forest thickets ablaze;And it swirls upward in a column of smoke.
“For you [Babylon] have trusted and felt confident in your wickedness; you have said,‘No one sees me.’Your wisdom and your knowledge have led you astray,And you have said in your heart (mind),‘I am, and there is no one besides me.’
The righteous man perishes [at the hand of evil], and no one takes it to heart;Faithful and devout men are taken away, while no one understandsThat the righteous person is taken away [to be spared] from disaster and evil.
“The facts are that you fast only for strife and brawling and to strike with the fist of wickedness.You do not fast as you do today to make your voice heard on high.
“[Rather] is this not the fast which I choose,To undo the bonds of wickedness,To tear to pieces the ropes of the yoke,To let the oppressed go freeAnd break apart every [enslaving] yoke?
For your hands are defiled with bloodAnd your fingers with wickedness [with sin, with injustice, with wrongdoing];Your lips have spoken lies,Your tongue mutters wickedness.
For, behold, I will call all the tribes of the kingdoms of the north,” says the Lord; “and they will come and each one will set his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all its surrounding walls, and against all the cities of Judah [as My judicial act, the consequence of Judah’s deliberate disobedience].
I will speak My judgments against them for all the wickedness of those who have abandoned (rejected) Me, offered sacrifices or burned incense to other gods, and worshiped the [idolatrous] works of their own hands.
“Your own wickedness will discipline you,And your desertion of the faith will punish you.Know therefore that it is an evil and bitter thingFor you to abandon (reject) the Lord your God,And for you to be indifferent to Me and dismiss the [reverent] fear of Me,” says the Lord God of hosts.
“Lift up your eyes to the barren heights and see;Where have you not been violated?You sat by the road waiting [eagerly] for them [those man-made gods]Like an Arab [tribesman who waits to attack] in the desert,And you have desecrated the landWith your [vile] prostitution and your wickedness (disobedience to God).
O Jerusalem, wash your heart from wickedness,That you may be saved.How long will your wicked and immoral thoughtsLodge within you?
‘They are fat and they are sleek (prosperous),They excel in acts of wickedness;They do not plead the cause,The cause of the orphan, so that they [the wicked] may prosper,And they do not defend the rights of the poor.
“As a fountain springs up and pours out its fresh waters,So she [continually] pours out her fresh wickedness.Violence and destruction are heard inside her [walls];Sickness and wounds are always before Me.
and [then dare to] come and stand before Me in this house, which is called by My Name, and say, ‘We are protected and set free [by this act of religious ritual]!’—only to go on with this wickedness and these disgusting and loathsome things?
“But go now to My place which was in Shiloh [in Ephraim], where I first set My Name, and see what I did to it because of the wickedness of My people Israel.
“I have listened and heard,But they have spoken what is not right;No man repented of his wickedness,Saying, ‘What have I done?’Everyone turns to his [individual] course,As the horse rushes like a torrent into battle.
“What right has My beloved [to be] in My houseWhen she has done many vile things and acted treacherously [over and over again]?Can vows and the meat of your sacrifices remove your wickedness from you and cancel the consequences of your sin,So that you can [escape your judgment and] rejoice?”
How long must the land mournAnd the grass of the countryside wither?Because of the wickedness and hypocrisy of those who live in it,The beasts and the birds are consumed and are swept away [by the drought],Because men [mocking me] have said, “He will not [live long enough to] see [what happens at] our final end.”
And the people to whom they are prophesying will be thrown out into the streets of Jerusalem, victims of famine and sword; and they will have no one to bury them—neither them, nor their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters. For I will pour out their [own] wickedness on them [and not only on the imposters posing as prophets, for the people could not have been deceived without their own consent].
We know and acknowledge, O Lord,Our wickedness and the iniquity of our fathers; for we have sinned against You.
I will make them an object of horror to all nations of the earth because of Manasseh [the despicable] son of Hezekiah, king of Judah, for the [evil and detestable] things which he did in Jerusalem.
“The wind [of adversity] will carry away all your shepherds (rulers, statesmen),And your lovers (allies) will go into exile.Surely then you will be ashamed and humiliated and disgracedBecause of all your wickedness.
For the land is full of adulterers (unfaithful to God);The land mourns because of the curse [of God upon it].The pastures of the wilderness have dried up.The course of action [of the false prophets] is evil and they rush into wickedness;And their power is not right.
“For both [false] prophet and priest are ungodly (profane, polluted);Even in My house I have found their wickedness,” says the Lord.
“Also I have seen a horrible thing in the prophets of Jerusalem:They commit adultery and walk in lies;They encourage and strengthen the hands of evildoers,So that no one has turned back from his wickedness.All of them have become like Sodom to Me,And her inhabitants like Gomorrah.
‘While they (the besieged Jews) are coming to fight against the Chaldeans and to fill the houses with the dead bodies of men whom I have slain in My anger and in My wrath, for I have hidden My face [in disgust] from this city because of all their wickedness.
because of the wickedness which they committed, provoking Me to anger by continuing to burn sacrifices and incense to serve other gods that they had not known, neither they, nor you, nor your fathers.
But they did not listen or turn [obediently] from their wickedness, and stop burning sacrifices and incense to other gods.
Have you forgotten the wickedness of your fathers, the wickedness of the kings of Judah, the wickedness of their wives [who served their foreign gods], your own wickedness, and the wickedness of your wives [who imitated the sin of the queens], which they committed in the land of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem?
“The smoking sacrifices (incense) that you burned in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem—you and your forefathers, your kings and your princes, and the people of the land—did not the Lord remember [in detail your idolatry] and did it not all come into His mind?
“Let all their wickedness come before You;And deal with them as You have dealt with meBecause of all my transgressions;For my groans are many and my heart is faint.”
However, if you have warned the wicked and he does not turn from his wickedness or from his wicked way, he will die in his sin; but you have freed yourself [from responsibility].
Violence has grown into a rod of wickedness; none of them (Israel) will remain, none of their people, none of their wealth, nor anything eminent among them.
“Then it came about after all your wickedness (‘Woe, woe to you!’ says the Lord God),
Furthermore, Samaria did not commit half of your sins, but you have greatly increased your repulsive acts more than they. So you have made your [wicked] sisters [Samaria and Sodom] appear righteous and justified by [comparison to] all the disgusting things which you have done.
so that you [Judah] will bear your humiliation and disgrace, and be [thoroughly] ashamed for all [the wickedness] that you have done to console and comfort them.
before your [own] wickedness was uncovered. Now you have become an object of reproach and a byword for the daughters of Aram and of Edom and all who are around her, and for the daughters of the Philistines—those surrounding you who despise you.
The person who sins [is the one that] will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the sin of the father, nor will the father bear the punishment for the sin of the son; the righteousness of the righteous shall be on himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be on himself.
Again, when a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life.
I will hand it over to a mighty one and a mighty one of the nations; he will most certainly deal with it. I have driven it away in accordance with its wickedness.
And you, son of man, say to the sons of your people, ‘The righteousness of the righteous man will not save him in the day of his transgression; and as for the wickedness of the wicked, he will not stagger because of it in the day that he turns from his wickedness, whereas a righteous man will not be able to live because of his [previous acts of] righteousness on the day when he commits sin.’
But when a wicked man turns back from his wickedness and practices what is just (fair) and right, he will live because of it.
“At the latter period of their reign,When the transgressors have finished,A king will ariseInsolent and skilled in intrigue and cunning.
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